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Ethel & Ernest


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Raymond Brigg's most extraordinary and most appealing book yet-a tender, moving, warmly funny tribute to his parents: Ethel and Ernest.

About the Author

Raymond Briggs is one of our most respected and beloved artists. Born in Wimbledon Park in 1934, he studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and later at the Slade School of Fine Art, and went on to produce a treasure trove of work. He has created characters that are now icons for generations of children, including Fungus the Bogeyman, Father Christmas and, of course, the beloved Snowman. The biography of his parents in graphic novel form, Ethel & Ernest, became a bestseller in the UK, and an animated feature film based on the novel will be released in 2016.He has won many awards over his career including the Kurt Maschler Award, The Children's Book of the Year, Dutch Silver Pen Award, and the prestigious Kate Greenaway Award twice for his Mother Goose Nursery Treasury and Father Christmas. Raymond lives in Sussex.


YA-An engrossing and revelatory picture story. After a brief courtship, Ethel, a ladies' maid, and Ernest, a milkman, married and bought a house. Much bemused at the size and amenities of this dwelling, they settled in to make a home. After some years, their only child, Raymond, was born and the small family moved through the world of working-class England before, during, and after World War II. Ernest's strong socialist bent contrasted with Ethel's admiration of the vanishing aristocracy. The Depression years, Raymond's evacuation during the war, the Blitz and the extended rationing, and the new socialistic government policies and the relative security of the `50s are realistically portrayed in both colored pictures and text. While presenting this story in a comic-strip format, Briggs doesn't flinch at revealing personal details; at the end, readers see his mother's disease-ravaged corpse and his father's inability to carry on. This is a vivid chronicle of a time and place not very far past and the life story of an average, but loved and loving couple. As a memoir, as a graphic novel, as an invitation to participate in someone else's memories, it is most successful. A quick but haunting read that's sure to involve anyone who picks it up.-Susan H. Woodcock, Chantilly Regional Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Briggs has always had the ability to move his readers, but never more powerfully than this." -- Stephen Pritchard Guardian "As our memory of pre-Niketown Britain fades, we should be grateful that Raymond Briggs is so brilliantly equipped to remind us of what we used to be, and why." -- Nick Hornby New York Times "Ethel & Ernest imparts, as the best novels do, the sense of lived lives. It's not too much to say you come to love these people... Briggs' book earns our tears. Ethel & Ernest is a just about perfect miniature: small in scale, not in spirit." -- Charles Taylor Salon

Briggs, a children's author, tells the story of his parents in this affecting memoir. Though his parents led simple lives, the adept illustrations and loving portrayal is heartrending and beautiful. A frequent favorite on critics' best graphic novels lists. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This wonderful book by noted children's author/illustrator Briggs (The Snowman) is something quite new: the story of his parents' quiet lives, played out against the stirring events of the century, done as a comic strip. Ethel was a rather timid ladies' maid, Ernest a dashing milkman, when they first saw each other in 1928. He swept her off in a whirlwind courtship, and they bought the little London row house where they were to live the rest of their days. In pictures exquisitely attuned to the niceties of English domestic architecture and period clothes, Briggs takes Ethel and Ernest fondly through the decades. He is born, a source of great joy, but it's a difficult birth and Ethel is told she can't have any more children. World War II approaches, and little Raymond is sent off to the country as an evacuee. After the war, Ernest, an ardent Socialist, believes that utopia has arrived, while the more cautious and conservative Ethel keeps bringing him back to earth. Then come the wonders of their first car, the advent of television, Raymond's eventual marriage in the swinging '60s and the aging couple's gradual decline into senility, floowed by their deaths within weeks of each other. The dialogue is heartbreakingly accurate, the pictures cinematic in their conveyance of delight and drama; the whole book is not only a deeply moving testament to "ordinary" folk but a precious piece of social historyÄthe essence of a lower-middle-class English life over seven decades. This was deservedly a bestseller in England and warrants no less here. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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